What Habits Should a Child Have?
A habit is a behavior that someone does every day, and sometimes without even thinking about it. This can be something simple, like getting ready in the morning or washing dishes after a meal. However, some habits are more beneficial than others. Encouraging your child to create some helpful habits can give them some support in being successful.
These are a few habits that can give your child a head start to success:
Reading every day. Reading every day, even if it is the same book, is great for your child’s brain. This can be a book that you read to them, take turns reading, or one they read on their own. If your child is very young, reading a favorite story to them frequently can help them learn to follow along and predict the story.
Following a routine. Knowing what to expect from their daily routine can be helpful for children. This creates clear expectations about how their day will go. This can start with something as simple as a five minute bedtime routine before building the routine for the rest of the day a little at a time.
Doing physical activity together. Something as simple as taking a walk with your child can create time to talk about their day, make up a story, or check in about how they’re feeling, while helping both of you to get exercise. Playing an athletic game like tag or jumping rope will be fun and healthy for both you and your child.
Work on homework every day. Especially when it comes to projects or long assignments, encouraging children to do a little bit of work every day prevents them from being overwhelmed by everything at once, and helps them work on time management skills.
Introducing Good Habits to Your Child
Building good habits can help your child to become more efficient in their daily life. Habits are created when a person learns or repeats a certain behavior that helps to achieve a goal. Exposing your child to routines that include good habits is a great way to help them build those habits for themselves.
Here are a few ways that you can help them build a habit:
Be a role model. Demonstrate behavior and habits that are helpful for your child to copy. You are the person who influences your child the most. Be intentional about modeling habits you want your child to have.
Be consistent. Many children learn well from repetition. Seeing the same behavior from you over and over will help your child start to follow those behaviors.
Involve your child in making routines. Including your child when making routines helps them to understand what they should be doing and why. It can also make following a routine easier and more fun for them, since they had some control over the planning.
Explain why. Tell your child why the habit you are creating is important. Knowing the reason why they are doing something is very helpful in making sure your child stays consistent with their good habits.
Have realistic expectations. Building good habits takes time, and some habits that you try to introduce may not work out. Setting goals that are reasonable and easy to reach will prevent you and your child from becoming overwhelmed or frustrated.
Work on one habit at a time. Identify what you most want your child to learn, and start with that single habit. Then, when that has become easy for them, add on a new one to do right before or after the first. The easiest way to build a new habit is to connect it to one that is already strong.1